In an effort to stop teens from getting addicted to nicotine, the Trump administration has announced its plans to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarette pods, save for the tobacco-flavored ones, a move that begs the question…why? Did they forget that cigarette-cigarettes exist? Or guns? Because these people sure haven’t.
Of course, six deaths have been linked to vaping along with about 450 cases of potential vaping-related lung illness across the United States, as Reuters reported on Wednesday, but more than a quarter of all high school students use tobacco products regularly, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—about the same number of kids who said they use e-cigarettes, per Reuters—and those definitely get kids addicted to nicotine, too.
Looking beyond the “epidemic” of teen vaping, what about an indisputably more serious public health crisis like gun violence, from which an average of 51 young people are either harmed or killed by firearms every day, as Johns Hopkins University trauma surgeon Joseph Sakran told VICE on Wednesday?
Why has the Trump administration chosen to set its sights on vaping instead of the tobacco or firearms industries? Could it have something to do with the $23 million the tobacco industry spent on lobbying in 2018, or the more than $5 million that groups like the National Rifle Association have spent lobbying in the first nine months of 2019 alone?
Short answer: probably! There’s nothing more American than doing stuff to make more money, except for maybe trying to ineffectually ban something instead of actually trying to address the root causes of the problem in the first place.